Connecting with God through celebration!
My little boy is 20 months old and since we’ve been in lockdown, he has developed an all-consuming obsession with buses.
I don’t know why, there have never been fewer buses going past our window. But, he knows the exact pages in his books that have buses on them, he pretends to be on a bus, he’s noticed buses on a mug in the kitchen and on a carrier bag in the cupboard.
We are having our eyes opened to the buses all around us. But mainly, he adores us singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, and we are required to sing it several thousand times a day, with variations which include his other favourite things: the duck on the bus; the tractor on the bus; the football on the bus… and so on.
So when some friends of ours suggested a 20-minute online time of praise for the kids on Saturday morning, he went bananas. You see, there we all were, dancing around the living room, praising God with the infectious abandon of children.
Our friends had prepared a lovely playlist of worship songs, and they all had colourful pictures which helped to tell the stories of God’s faithfulness, power and love. And our little boy was twirling in the middle of the room, arms on in the air, massive smile on his face, screaming ‘BUS!’ at the top of his voice. When the music stopped and everyone waved goodbye online, he cried until I made ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ magically appear in the place of our friends, and then his arms went up, his head threw back, and his smile returned. He spun around the room again, eyes closed, pure joy emanating through his whole body, singing “Bus, bus, bus” over and over again.
Psalm 91 says “Sing to the Lord a new song…praise his name…declare his glory”. As I watched my little boy dancing and singing after the end of our ‘official’ worship time, I could see no difference between the praise before and the praise after. That little, chubby, twirling body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and if he’s bursting over with joy for the God who lets us have buses, then that’s no more or less valid than me bursting with joy for the God who lets me have books, friends and sunsets.
Our children have a lot to deal with at the moment, and I need to bin my tick-list of what family time with God could look like, and instead set my eyes to seeing – really seeing – how they are already connecting with him, without my interference.
My daughter has been taking herself off for hours at a time to colour a complicated picture, and deep down in my heart I suspected it was because she’s avoiding chores or homework. But when I sat with her, invited in for a precious few moments to join her creativity (and the honour of using her blue glitter pencil), she told me how she feels when she colours, what she’s talking to God about and how he speaks to her when she’s making something beautiful.
It really doesn’t matter what everyone else’s family worship looks like. God is already at work in our little ones, and part of the privilege of parenting is to join in with them. So I will colour and chat and put my hands in the air and sing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ like I’ve never sung it before: God is good.
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